If you use an Alexa voice assistant, your words have the power to simplify your life and make it a little more entertaining. Alexa is available on Amazon’s Echo range of smart-home devices and even on products from other brands like Sonos and Sony.
Alexa is a pretty powerful voice assistant. It can help you find information, control your smart home, do math equations, and more. The trick is knowing the right commands you can use to get the most out of Alexa.
We’ve gathered some of the best Alexa voice commands for you to get the most out of your Alexa device.
How to choose a ‘wake word’ for Alexa
Alexa commands for home activities
Alexa commands for general information
Alexa commands for media
Alexa commands for calls, messages, and announcements
Alexa commands for shopping
Funny voice commands for Alexa
Bonus: Alexa routines
How to trigger Alexa? Choose your own ‘wake word’
No, we don’t mean how to cause Alexa distress—”trigger” as in waking Alexa to listen for your commands. It’s really easy to trigger Alexa; once it hears the wake word, Alexa will start listening for commands.
There are several different wake words, by the way; the default is, of course, “Alexa.” To change your wake word, head to your device settings in the Alexa app and choose between the alternatives “Echo,” “Amazon,” “Ziggy,” and—our favorite—“Computer.”
Alexa voice commands for home
Unless you’re one of those people who use voice commands on the train, you probably are using Alexa most at home. After all, Echo devices and speakers work well with smart home devices.
If you’ve configured your smart home with Alexa, you won’t have to raise a finger to get anything done. Of course, you’ll need compatible devices for the commands to work (for example, asking Alexa to lock your door won’t work if you don’t have a compatible smart lock). Give these voice commands a go:
- Alexa, turn on/off the [room] lights
- Alexa, show the front door
- Alexa, set the thermostat to 72
- Alexa, lock my front door
- Alexa, dim the lights in [room] to 30%
Forgetful? Alexa can help remind you to get something done. The best way to do this is to give Alexa a specific date and time; otherwise, Alexa will prompt you in the morning only. Here are some examples of reminders you might use:
- Alexa, remind me to eat lunch at noon everyday
- Alexa, remind me to buy movie tickets on Thursday at 10 a.m.
- Alexa, remind me to pick up Jen from school at 2 p.m. every Monday to Friday
Want Alexa to remind someone else about something? You can! Just make sure they have a profile set up with Alexa through the app. For example:
- Alexa, remind Jen to complete her science project on Saturday
- Alexa, remind Jon to buy eggs at 4 p.m.
Alexa is also able to manage your calendar. It doesn’t have to be Alexa’s calendar either. Adding third-party calendars like Google Calendar is really easy through the settings of the Alexa app. Try these commands to manage your calendar on Alexa:
- Alexa, what’s on my calendar for [date]?
- Alexa, add an event to my calendar
Alarms and timers
Alexa-based devices like the Amazon Echo are great alarm clocks. Just say:
- Alexa, set an alarm from 6 a.m.
- Alexa, wake me up in two hours
- Alexa, when’s my next alarm?
- Alexa, cancel my alarm
- Alexa, snooze
If you’ve a music service like Spotify linked, you can also ask Alexa to set music to your alarms by saying something like:
- Alexa, wake me up to Hammer Smashed Face by Cannibal Corpse at 6 a.m.
Alexa is also great as a timer. Whether you’re working out, baking, or anything else, let Alexa handle the timing while you do your thing. To use Alexa as a timer, simply use commands like:
- Alexa, set a timer for 20 minutes
It’s also really easy to find out how much time is remaining; simply ask:
- Alexa, how much time is left on my timer?
To stop your alarm and timers, use the basic command, “Alexa, stop.” Alexa can also tell you the time and date. Just say: “Alexa, what time is it?” or “Alexa, what is the date?”
Just because Alexa is a voice assistant doesn’t mean it can’t be part of your family. Alexa knows how to greet you, comfort you, and celebrate with you too. Try these commands:
- Alexa, I’m home
- Alexa, I’m sick
- Alexa, happy New Year
- Alexa, happy birthday
- Alexa, sing Happy Birthday
- Alexa, thanks
This also feels like a good time to remind you to be kind to your Alexa. You know, just in case it ever becomes sentient.
Read more: What is the AI singularity?
Alexa voice commands for general information
Have a quick question you want answered? Alexa can help. It might not be as effective as a Google search, but Alexa does well with basic facts.
Using Alexa to search is almost conversational. Alexa boasts Wikipedia integration, which can be useful when you ask it questions about science, history, politics, and more. Talk about a great homework helper. Try searching with Alexa using these commands:
- Alexa, Wikipedia the Apollo 13
- Alexa, convert 123 kilometers into miles
- Alexa, what is the recipe for red velvet cake
- Alexa, how do you spell mitochondria
To get more information after Alexa responds, simply say, “Alexa, tell me more.” If your Alexa-enabled device has a screen, it can also show you your search results.
Using commands like these, Alexa can also give you localized information:
- Alexa, what movies are playing?
- Alexa, where is the nearest grocery store?
- Alexa, how long will it take to get to the airport?
- Alexa, what time is sunset?
- Alexa, find me a nearby Thai restaurant
News and weather
Alexa-enabled devices come with something called Flash Briefing. They’re basically a summary of headline news from different news sources and the local weather forecast. To get your Flash Briefing, simply say, “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?”
If you want your news or weather without the whole Flash Briefing spiel, these commands will suffice:
- Alexa, what’s the news?
- Alexa, what’s the weather?
- Alexa, what’s the weather going to be like this weekend?
- Alexa, what’s the weather like in Melbourne?
- Alexa, what’s the weather forecast for Sydney this Tuesday?
Need something translated? Alexa can help! Note that Alexa will not speak the translation out loud but will show you the translation in the Alexa app. Give it a go with commands like these:
- Alexa, translate good morning to Spanish
- Alexa, translate hola to English
No, we will not judge you for asking Alexa for advice. Alexa is pretty helpful; after all, we would too! Get some simple advice from Alexa with these commands:
- Alexa, what should I wear?
- Alexa, what is a good name for a baby boy?
- Alexa, what should I have for breakfast?
Alexa voice commands for media
Alexa’s integration with Amazon’s services makes it a very useful voice assistant, especially if you use services like Prime Video and Audible.
Movies and shows
Use Alexa to find out more information about a show you’re currently watching on your Fire TV or even to control it. Alexa can even dish out some trivia if you ask it to. Using commands like these is a great way to start:
- Alexa, fast-forward 10 minutes
- Alexa, tune in to HBO
- Alexa, what is the IMDb rating for [movie]?
- Alexa, who plays Joey in Friends?
- Alexa, show me movies by David Lynch on [device]
Are you a sports fan? Let Alexa give you the down-low on the latest happenings. Simply use the command:
- Alexa, give me my sports update
You can configure the sports updates you get by adjusting the settings in the Alexa app. Other sports commands you can try on Alexa are:
- Alexa, did [team] win the match on Sunday?
- Alexa, what was the score of Sunday night’s [team] game?
- Alexa, when does [team] play next?
Music and podcasts
For most of us, we have Alexa on audio devices like Echo speakers or even headphones. Alexa supports a number of music services like Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, and more. Using Alexa commands, you can control the music you play with a few simple commands:
- Alexa, play some music
- Alexa, play the latest Rihanna album
- Alexa, shuffle my playlist
- Alexa, stop playing in 20 minutes
- Alexa, play the latest episode of [podcast]
Have lyrics to a song stuck in your head? Alexa can find you that song. For example, you can say, “Alexa, play that song that says ‘You don’t seem to know, or seem to care what your heart is for’,” and it’ll play Torn by Natalie Imbruglia.
If you have a Kindle or an Audible account, Alexa can play the audiobooks you’ve purchased on your Alexa-enabled device. Simply use commands like:
- Alexa, play [book title] on Audible
- Alexa, read [book title]
- Alexa, resume my book
If you’re using a Kindle instead, just add the word “Kindle” at the end of your command.
Fun things (Games, jokes, more)
Alexa has some fun stuff built in you can make use of. Whether it is to entertain yourself or host a trivia night, Alexa can help with these commands:
- Alexa, quiz me on [movie name]
- Alexa, what’s the question of the day?
- Alexa, sing for me
- Alexa, play fart sounds
- Alexa, give me a riddle
- Alexa, give me a tongue twister
- Alexa, play rock, paper, scissors
- Alexa, tell me a joke
Alexa voice commands for calls, messages, and announcements
Not to be outdone by Google Assistant and Siri, you can also use Alexa as a communications tool. While calls and messages are pretty self-explanatory, announcements allow you to broadcast messages across Alexa devices in your home. Some announcements you can try are:
- Alexa, announce that it’s bedtime
- Alexa, announce that it’s time to wake up
To get Alexa to call someone or send a message, use these commands:
- Alexa, call [contact name]
- Alexa, send a message to [contact name]
Note that your contacts must be Alexa contacts for the calling and messaging functionality to work. If you’re in the U.S., UK, Canada, or Mexico, you can use Alexa to call or message any non-emergency number.
If you have an Alexa-enabled device with a camera, like the Echo Show, you can ask Alexa to video call a contact via Zoom, Skype, or Amazon. The person on the receiving end will need a compatible Alexa-enabled device, though. Ask Alexa to video call someone by using the command “Alexa, video call [contact name].”
A pretty cool feature on compatible Alexa devices is Drop In. This feature temporarily turns your Alexa speaker into an intercom within your household. Note that the Drop In feature is only limited to your Amazon Household and people who have given explicit consent. To use this feature, command Alexa to drop in on a contact or device, like this:
- Alexa, drop in on the kitchen
- Alexa, drop in on Jon’s shed
Alexa voice commands for shopping
As an Amazon product, it makes sense that Alexa can help you do some shopping. Notice toilet paper is running low? Just tell Alexa to order more.
Of course, shopping with voice commands is potentially risky. Anyone with access to your Alexa-enabled device could order up a storm, leaving you with a massive Amazon bill. So, be sure to create a voice PIN. On the Alexa app, head to More > Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchasing to set a voice PIN.
Purchasing with Alexa
So, you’re ready to shop using Alexa. With a few voice commands, it’ll be like having your own personal shopper. You can ask Alexa to check on an existing order with Amazon or to repurchase something from your most recent order with commands like these:
- Alexa, where’s my stuff?
- Alexa, buy more shampoo
Other shopping commands are:
- Alexa, buy this song (while listening to music)
- Alexa, add [item] to shopping cart
- Alexa, what are your deals
- Alexa, start my Audible trial
Rather do your shopping in person at a store? Alexa can help you create lists, which are saved and easily accessible on the Alex app. Use these commands to create a list (of any sort) with Alexa:
- Alexa, create a [name] list
- Alexa, add pesto to my shopping list
- Alexa, add ‘wash the car’ to my to-do list
- Alexa, what is on my [name] list
Alexa funny voice commands
You can install some third-party “skills” to Alexa to get it to do more fun stuff; you can do this through your Amazon account. But if you’re looking for Alexa Easter eggs in the assistant, we’ve got your back! Give Alexa these commands and enjoy:
- Alexa, I want the truth
- Alexa, beam me up
- Alexa, surprise me
- Alexa, party time
- Alexa, show me the money
- Alexa, open the pod bay doors
- Alexa, surely you can’t be serious
- Alexa, my name is Inigo Montoya
- Alexa, no soup for you
- Alexa, I am your father
- Alexa, do you think I’m sexy?
- Alexa, will you marry me?
- Alexa, where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
- Alexa, what’s the first rule of Fight Club?
- Alexa, when will I die?
- Alexa, where is Waldo?
- Alexa, what is your quest?
- Alexa, what is your cunning plan?
- Alexa, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
- Alexa, Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start
Bonus: Alexa routines
Using a wide variety of commands is a great way to level up your Alexa use. But we get it; repeating the wake word every single time can get tiresome. Meet Alexa routines.
Routines are like shortcuts. They group a bunch of commands together so that you don’t have to ask for each one individually. You can set routines to activate based on a command, time of day, after performing an action, and more, all right from the Alexa app.
Setting up a routine might be daunting, but Alexa has a few featured routines for you to try as soon as you enable the feature. For example:
- Saying “Alexa, start my day” will prompt Alexa to tell you something new, update you about the weather and traffic, then start your Flash Briefing.
- Enabling the “Weather after Alarm Routine” will prompt Alexa to tell you the weather after you dismiss an alarm.
Other featured routines can dim your lights when you watch a movie on your Fire TV, pause your show or podcast when you’re getting a snack, and so much more. Routines are totally customizable, so have fun with them! Alexa even lets you use custom trigger words to start a routine.
To set up your own routines or use featured routines, head to More > Routines on the Alexa app.
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